The next morning, I woke to the sun streaming through the lacy curtains, blinding my eyes for a moment. Yawning, I stretched and I got dressed before going downstairs. Fleur was busy cooking some eggs on the stove in the kitchen and I quietly entered, “Do you need help with anything?”
“No, I am all set, thank you. Is Louis awake yet?” She inquired.
I peeked into the living room, “I don’t see him. He’ll probably sleep for awhile yet as the potions make him tired.”
“All right. Here’s a plate of eggs for you.” She handed me a plate.
I thanked her and sat at the table, eating my breakfast. I sighed once I finished, I asked, “Could you teach me how to say I love you, in French?”
Fleur smiled happily, “Of course but Louis would love to teach you, I’m sure.”
“I’d rather surprise him if that’s alright.” I said, leaning back on the counter.
Fleur said, “Fine, Je t’aime.”
I tried to repeat what she said but it all came out in a bunch of gargle. Fleur shook her head, smiling to herself. She tried repeating the words slower, teaching me bit by bit. I said it again and again until she gave me a proud look, “I think Louis will be amazed.”
I thanked her before I headed upstairs to see if Louis was awake. I opened his bedroom door only to see his bed vacant, the covers disarray and Louis was not there. I frowned, wondering where on earth he could be. Once I turned around, I came face to face with Louis and I nearly jumped out of my skin from surprise. I let out a breath, “You scared me.”
He grinned slightly, “Sorry, I was brushing my teeth.”
I nodded slowly before asking curiously, “What are you doing up? You need to be resting-”
Louis rolled his eyes, mumbling something in French and I smiled knowing he was sick of following the healer’s orders already. I made him turn around and go downstairs to the couch. He sat down, folding his arms and pouting slightly. Weasleys were stubborn apparently. I was amused by his stubbornness and I kissed his cheek, “Do you need anything?”
He shrugged, “Not really.”
“You can mope all you want but you have to take it easy. Your family nor I want to see you back in that hospital because you did something ridiculously stupid to make yourself worse.” I stated.
Louis let out a sigh, “I know.”
I handed him a potion, “Drink some of that.”
He swallowed some down and I felt something tear at my heart as he coughed afterwards; his coughing did not stop for a minute and before I could even ask, he looked at me. His eyes piercing into mine, telling me he was all right. I tried to believe him but I wasn’t sure.
He asked, “When do you need to leave?”
“Well I owled the Potters last night and they said I could come by anytime. I think it would be best if I stopped in this morning, get my mother settled in my room and introduced to Hannah then I’d come back here.” I answered, my fingers tapping my knee.
Louis pointed out, “You’re going to need a bigger place, even Hannah could agree with that. The rooms at the Leaky Cauldron are small and barely fit two people.”
“I hadn’t thought about that.” I groaned, leaning back on the couch.
His fingers trailed up my arm, “You have too much going on that you’re worrying about.”
I bit my lip, trying to think of where I could even find an affordable place to live with more room. My income was low; my mother probably had some money in Gringgotts but probably not enough. Her past boyfriends had squandered away any money she’d ever made in her day jobs. Louis affectionately rubbed the back of my hand with his fingers. “What you are thinking about?”
“Where can I find a place that will fit both my mother and me? I have little money as it is-”
“Can’t Hannah spare another room?” Louis inquired softly, his eyes flickering to me.
I let out a frustrated sigh, running a hand through my hair, “I don’t know. She’s done so much for me already that I hate to ask more favors. I’ll see if I can get some ideas from her though. You sure you’ll be fine without me for a couple hours?”
Louis kissed my cheek, “I’ll be fine.”
I looked at him, trying to find even a glint of pain amidst the blue irises. There was none. I stood, tying my scarf around my neck as the air was still chilly outside, “I’ll be back soon. Please don’t do anything ridiculous.”
Louis smiled, “I won’t, I promise.”
“Good.” I smiled, kissing him lightly before heading towards the fireplace to floo to the Potter’s house.
I coughed as ashes filled my lungs and I practically fell out of their fireplace into their nice clean living room. “Stephanie!” I heard my mother say my name.
I dusted myself off and instantly my mother’s arms were around me in an embrace. She kissed my cheek, “Is Louis alright?”
I nodded, “Yes, he’s fine. How are you feeling?”
“I’m just fine. The moment I came here, I was still in shock I was staying with Harry Potter! You remember how we always read about him in the Daily Prophet and how we wondered what it’d be like to actually meet him? Well here I am staying in their house!” My mother exclaimed happily as if she were a child on Christmas morning.
I laughed and Ginny came from the kitchen, “Stephanie, you’re early. Everything going alright with Louis?”
“Yes, he’s doing quite well. Where’s Mr. Potter?” I looked around for Harry but saw no sight of him.
“He’s at the Ministry, doing some paperwork. Alison, are your things all packed?” Ginny smiled.
My mother nodded, “Yes, all my things are packed. Thank you so much for letting me stay with you.”
“It was no trouble, I quite enjoyed having your company.” Ginny hugged her.
I thanked Ginny one last time before my mother and I flooed to the Leaky Cauldron.
Hannah greeted us warmly and I introduced my mother to her. Hannah smiled, “It’s so wonderful to have you here with us Alison! By chance, do you cook at all?”
“It’s been awhile but I imagine it won’t take long to refresh my memory.” My mother answered, smiling.
Hannah mentioned, “Well, we could always use an extra hand here in the Leaky Cauldron so if you need work, I’d be happy to offer you a job.”
“Thank you. I think once I settle in, I’ll take you up on the offer.” My mother nodded.
I bit my lip, asking Hannah, “The room is a bit small for us both, is there any chance you could spare a room?”
“Of course, Stephanie! I knew the moment you told me your mother was coming home that you’d need extra space. So I adjusted your room a bit with some magic. I think you’ll find it quite satisfactory.” Hannah smiled, leaning back on the counter.
I gave her a confused look. How could she adjust my room? I took my mother’s bags upstairs as she followed closely behind. We reached the first floor and we walked down to room 17 that was on the end. I opened the door and my jaw just nearly hit the floor as I looked in shock at what was my room. The floorboards were glossy, shiny like new, the far window had new lace curtains and the room was about six feet wider than what it had been. There were two twin beds, each covered in a set of sheets and green blankets. The dresser was bigger too, enough to fit three people’s clothes. I leaned back on the cream colored walls, still trying to take this all in. My mother took the bags from me, “Stephie, quit gawking at the room! I think Hannah did a splendid job! This is the nicest room I’ve ever seen!”
I looked at her, tears in my eyes, “I can’t believe this is happening. I mean, you’re here with me and we’ll actually be together, as a family again. I never thought that would happen in a hundred years.”
My mother put her arms around me, “Sweetie, we always were together. I may not have been in my right mind but I was always there, in here.”
She touched my heart and stroked my hair from my face, “And I will continuously be there with you. Family isn’t always about being together physically. Sometimes family is about knowing you’re there for each other every step of the way and love is always going to connect you together, no matter what happens.”
Tears started to fall from eyes, as the past few years started to catch up to me. I was finally able to let go of all the emotions I’d bottled up for so long. I’d missed her touch, advice, hugs and kisses but mostly, I’d missed her simply being there. My mother hugged me tightly and stroked my hair, “We’ll be fine, and I know it.”
I wiped my face with my handkerchief and softly admitted, “I missed you, so much.”
“I know, honey and I’m sorry. You don’t know how sorry I am about everything, Stephie. I wanted the best for you and I’m sorry about the boyfriends, the fights.” She sat down on the bed.
I sat down next to her, “I don’t blame you. I knew what was going on for a long time and I should’ve said something.”
“You were only a child and you didn’t know any better.” She squeezed my hand, “I’m here now and that’s what matters.”
“Do you remember, how it happened to you? What he did to make you forget everything?” I asked softly.
My mother shook her head, gazing out the window, “I don’t and I’m afraid I never will remember that. In a way, I’m glad I don’t remember that because I would rather have the happy memories instead of the bad ones.”
I nodded slowly and she touched my cheek, “You turned out just fine. You’re a beautiful young lady and I can see why Louis loves you.”
A smile graced my lips as I thought of Louis. “I wish I could’ve told you all about him that first night I met him.”
“Well, you can tell me all about him now. We have all the time in the world to catch up on everything I’ve missed.” My mother smiled, squeezing my hand again.
As I helped her unpack her things, I told her all about how I met Louis, how he showed up at the Leaky Cauldron the very next day, how he made me dinner that first night etc. My mother laughed at how I told her Louis kept on saying phrases to me in French and wouldn’t translate them for me. I laughed, “I asked his mother to teach me to say ‘I love you’ in French this morning. It’s not perfection but I think it would really shock him if I said something in French to him.”
“Yes, it would-” My mother started laughing as she closed the dresser drawer.
Suddenly, Hannah burst into the room, her face full of worry, “Stephanie! You need to go, right away!”
“Hannah? What happened? Are you alright?” I quickly asked, worry beginning to cross my mind.
“I’m fine but it’s Louis. You need to get to St. Mungo’s, now!” Hannah cried.
Louis? I immediately asked, “What? Is he okay? Hannah, what’s going on?”
Hannah worriedly said, “I don’t know! Fleur owled me just now and merely said Louis was going St. Mungo’s. Something about he was experiencing pain in his chest-”
Quickly, I grabbed my purse, threw on my shoes and asked my mother, “Will you be fine?”
“Fine? Of course! I am coming with you!” She hastily said, putting on her shoes.
“Mother, you don’t have to-” I started to argue.
“Stephanie Leanne Johnson, I am coming with you. You are in no mindset to travel alone.” She sternly stated.
She grabbed my arm so we could to side along apparition as it was faster than flooing. We were in St. Mungo’s within seconds. Fear began to rise within me. What was wrong with him? Was it severe? I ran to the receptionist desk, nearly out of breath asking, “Where is Louis Weasley? I need to see him, it’s urgent.”
She looked up from her paperwork, “Miss, I need you to take a seat, only family is allowed at the present time-”
“Screw the rules and I will not take a seat! My boyfriend is here and could be in critical condition so you will tell me where he is!” I practically shouted at the woman, as I was not in the mood to be patient with her.
“Stephanie!” I spun around seeing Louis’ sister Dominique.
“Dom!” I ran to her as my mother argued with the receptionist.
Dom instantly hugged me and I asked, “Where’s Louis?”
She started to cry; “He’s being looked over by the healers right now. Mother said he started having pain awhile after you left. The potions weren’t working apparently and she took him here. They said he might be having some kind of infection.”
“How bad is it?” My eyes started to tear up at the thought of him being seriously hurt.
“I’m not sure. They won’t tell us until after they’ve finished.” She said quietly.
My mother approached us, “Stephie, he’s in room 113 on the third floor.”
We followed Dom down the hall but I broke out into a run, trying to avoid the healers bustling about and I ran up the flights of stairs, my heart pumping wildly within my chest ready to burst out. I needed to see him. I needed to know if he was okay. Why hadn’t I seen the pain earlier? He had to be okay. I needed him almost like I needed air. I’d almost lost my mother. I couldn’t lose him too.
I ignored Dom’s and my mother’s shouts as I continued to run as if I were trying to outrun the pain inflicting my heart. Healers tried to slow me down but I wouldn’t. I kept running faster and faster until I stopped at his room. Nearly collapsing from exhaustion, I was pulled into an embrace by Louis’ mother. She started crying into my shoulder and I was out of breath as I asked, “What happened? Is he okay?”
She pulled away from me, still crying uncontrollably. Louis’ father came out of the room with a distressing look on his face, “He’s asleep. The healers said he had an infection in his chest and they’ve done their best to remove it. We won’t know anything else until he wakes up.”
“He will be okay though, won’t he?” I questioned softly.
Louis’ father sighed, not looking directly at me, “I don’t know.”
I forced myself to swallow, to keep the sobs from coming from my mouth. Louis’ father took Fleur in his arms and said, “I’ll take Fleur to the tea room upstairs as it may be awhile before he wakes. Do you want anything, Stephanie?”
I shook my head. As soon as they left, I peeked in the open doorway of Louis’ room and I saw him. Here he was again, lying on a hospital bed only this time, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to him. I didn’t know if he’d even wake up. Tears started to form in my eyes as I slowly entered, walking over to his bedside. Sitting on the edge of the bed, my fingers gradually touched his limp hand. My lips started to quiver as I watched his chest rise and fall as he breathed. I bit down on my lip to stop myself from sobbing. He didn’t stir as I grasped his fingers in mine, trying to let him know I was here. My eyes flickered to his face, and he looked so peaceful as he slept. I wasn’t sure how but my voice found its way from my mouth as I hoarsely spoke, “Please be okay, Louis. You have to be, you just have to be. You don’t know how much you mean to me. Ever since I met you, I’ve found a way to get up in the morning with a smile. You changed everything around for me when I thought my life couldn’t get any harder.”
By now, tears were spilling down my cheeks and the pain in my heart was weighing me down like a lead weight. My fingers gripped his as if I were holding onto the last lifeline I had. Softly, I added, “Je t’aime.”
The light pressure of his fingers increased as he feebly squeezed my hand. My eyes straight away looked up to his face and I saw my favorite shade of blue staring back at me. Louis coughed as though some unknown force was choking him but then he spoke, his voice no more than a whisper, “You spoke French.”
I nodded and he coughed again. I couldn’t stop myself from leaning down and wrapping my arms around him. I held onto him like he was going to disappear within seconds and I’d never see him again. I never wanted to let go of him, not for anything in the world. I almost lost him once; I didn’t want to fully lose him.
A/N: ok Sooo i hope you all like this chapter! I know i started getting emotional writing it, especially with the scene with her mother... thank you so much to everyone for the reviews and support! you all are amazing and really motivate me to keep this fic going! I have maybe 2 or 3 chapters left...we'll see what happens... you never know. ;)